HE sparked fury by switching allegiance from Labour to the Conservatives, but Bazil Solomon says he won’t stand down.

Calls have been made for him to resign as the Swindon Borough Council member for Liden, Eldene and Park South, sparking a by-election.

But Coun Solomon says he doesn’t believe that’s what voters want, despite him winning for Labour with a majority of 282.

He said: “I’m not resigning. I spoke to residents before I moved to the Conservatives and they were supportive.

“The people of Liden, Eldene and Park South voted for a Conservative government in December, and many voted Conservative in the local elections.

“I did speak to many people and they were happy with what I told them I was thinking of doing.”

He added: “I’m looking forward to leaving the EU on Friday. I didn’t vote in the European elections last year, because the residents in my ward voted for Brexit.

“They wanted Brexit, so I thought it wouldn’t be right to elect an MEP.”

Coun Solomon, who is a teacher by day, has faced some criticism from his former Labour colleagues that just two months ago he was hoping to be an MP in a Jeremy Corbyn government.

He tried and failed to win the candidacy for his party in North Wiltshire and Tewkesbury parliamentary constituencies in the December general election.

Coun Solomon said: “I wanted to help to bring the party back to the centre. But it has moved to the far left, and I wasn’t able to drag it to the centre again.”

One of the final straws for the councillor, originally from South Africa, was the way the party has dealt with ongoing accusations that it has not done enough to root out anti-Semitism in its ranks.

He felt he had faced hostility inside the party, saying: “I have a Jewish name and people in the party asked me whether I was Jewish, in a suspicious manner.

“I was criticised for working with Conservatives. I took part with Conservatives on the Cavendish Square issues, and I was told not to and to say horrible things about Conservatives.

“I got involved in the boxing match with Dale Heenan, and some didn’t like that. They said they were against boxing. They’re against this or that. I don’t know what Labour is for anymore.

“I was criticised for being a Conservative when I was still in Labour. It was a very difficult decision to leave.

“It’s been a very difficult time, but there’s a much more positive vibe in the Conservative group. There was not a happy vibe in Labour.”

Leader of the Labour group Jim Grant said Coun Solomon’s decision was a ‘betrayal’.

He added: “The refusal to call a by-election is a betrayal of the people that voted for him six months ago as a Labour candidate.

“He has disenfranchised and misled them as he told them he was a Labour candidate when he is in fact a Conservative. He should stop thinking of his own interests and start thinking about his constituents.

“Bazil says the voters don’t want a by-election but how does he know that? Has he asked the 1,196 residents who voted for him as a Labour candidate whether they want a by-election?

“The party is going through a leadership election so to say we are going too far left when issues like the direction of the party are being debated, doesn’t make sense. And only a few months ago he wanted to be a parliamentary candidate under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership so he has no credibility to say he thinks the party is too left wing.

“The allegations he makes about his treatment have no detail and he never made a complaint to me about them.

“As someone who worked hard to get Bazil elected as a Labour candidate he has never apologised to me for switching to the Conservatives nor even bothered to speak to me about why he has betrayed me and others like this.”

Labour has launched a petition calling for a by-election. So far, it has been signed by 210 people.

A statement by David Renard, leader of the Conservative group and his deputy Russell Holland, said: “When people elect a councillor they elect the person they think is best placed to do the best for their ward. It is the person’s name which comes first and the party political logo comes second on the ballot paper.

“The reality is that under Jeremy Corbyn nationally and Jim Grant locally, Labour has had electoral failure after electoral failure and has been under considerable pressure because of its hostility to business, the anti-Semitism crisis and several former moderate Labour politicians being critical of the direction it has taken.

“Bazil is first and foremost concerned with doing the best for his ward and he has determined that the best way to serve his ward is by becoming a member of the Conservative Group.

“Jim needs to reflect about why moderate members are leaving and why Labour has done so badly in both national and local elections before he starts attacking good people like Bazil who just want to serve their community.”